We know that facial muscles affect facial expression, and in turn can influence emotion, but it’s rarely considered that other muscular states can also affect mood. Research suggests that this is the case and that sitting upright can build resilience to stress.
Especially when under pressure and distracted, people are likely to pay less attention to their posture. However, research indicates that good posture at times of stress can help to maintain self-esteem and positive mood, whereas slumped postures have the opposite effect.
It is important to take care of your posture and there are a number of ways to do this, both at home and at work, and especially when using a computer.
- When relaxing in a chair, such as when watching television, it is important to ensure that as much of the body as possible has contact with the chair for optimal support.
- Avoid sitting for more than 30-40 minutes at a time. Remember to stand up, stretch, change position, walk around and go and get a drink of water!
- When stretching, concentrate on opening up your chest, abdominal area and hip flexors. Your chiropractor can advise you on the best movements for this.
- Perform exercises to strengthen the muscles that support your posture. Exercises such as resistance band pull-aparts are good, and your chiropractor can advise you on other suitable exercises.
Of course, perhaps the time that slouching most commonly occurs in our society is during the hours that are spent hunched over a desk, working at a computer.
- Ensure that your desk, chair and monitor are set up following proper guidelines.
- Take regular breaks. Set a timer to remind yourself if you’re guilty of forgetting to do this when immersed in work.
- If using a laptop, ensure that is placed on a desk or table rather than your lap to avoid looking down, slouching, and leaving your neck unsupported.”
Your chiropractor will be able to conduct a postural analysis and suggest stretches, exercises and lifestyle changes that can improve your seated posture and enhance your mood.